Danica Patrick to quit NASCAR, return to IndyCar, or start family (9th Update)

UPDATE Strike IndyCar off the list for Danica Patrick. "If I don't do Cup, I don't think I will do anything," Patrick told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. "My only goal is to win in Cup. My only goal is to be one of the few drivers who have won in IndyCar and NASCAR and that's attained through winning in the Cup Series."

Whereas for years she had a winning car and could not win a race, if she stays in NASCAR it's likely to be with a backmarker team. Her chances of winning a race are close to absolute zero.

When asked if she had a list of potential teams, Patrick said she leaves that up to her management.

"I let them do the work. There's not really anything I can do," Patrick said. "It comes down to money, and it also comes down to what I want to do. Moving parts and answers that have yet to come to fruition."


Danica will either get "The Call" and win a race, or get the boot
At 35 Danica's biological clock is ticking, but her boyfriend Ricky Stenhouse won't ask her to marry him even though she has hinted in no uncertain terms. Guess she needs a new boyfriend.

09/22/17 Tony Stewart says 35-year-old Danica Patrick, the first woman to win an IndyCar race, has plenty of career options.

"Danica is one of the few people that has the ability to stay in NASCAR if she wants, go back to IndyCar or go road racing," Stewart told NBC Sports.

"There's not a lot of drivers that have been released this year that have the option to do so many things.

"It shows how versatile and talented she is to have that many options.

"It's really going to be a matter of what does she want to do? Where's her heart at? Where's her mind at?

"What does she really want to do for the next five, 10, 15 years?"

09/12/17 Danica Patrick has confirmed she will not return to Stewart-Haas Racing for the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season.

Patrick made the announcement on her personal Facebook page on Tuesday afternoon. It comes on the heels of the announcement that Smithfield would join Stewart-Haas as a sponsor in 2018. As part of that announcement, the team confirmed a new driver would be joining the team.

“It has been my honor to drive for Tony Stewart, Gene Haas and everyone at Stewart-Haas Racing for the past six seasons," Patrick said. “Together we earned a Daytona 500 pole, seven top-10 finishes and we also had some exciting racing along the way. My time driving for them, however, has come to an end due to a new sponsorship arrangement in 2018.

“Sponsorship plays a vital role in our sport, and I have been very fortunate over the course of my career, but this year threw us for a curve. Our amazing partners, such as Aspen Dental and Code 3, stepped up in a big way on short notice this year and I am incredibly grateful.

“I wish SHR the best of luck with their new sponsorship and driver. Thanks for the memories. Right now, my focus is on the remainder of the 2017 season and finishing the year strong. I have the utmost faith in myself and those around me, and feel confident about my future."

08/06/17 Amid one of the most productive stretches of her NASCAR career, Danica Patrick faces the possibility that it could all end after this season because of sponsorship shortfalls. Or at least end at Stewart-Haas Racing.

And in an interview with USA TODAY Sports on Saturday at Watkins Glen International, she seems at peace with the prospect.

Various outlets have reported that SHR had begun negotiations with Patrick to extricate itself from the final year of her contract, but the situation isn't even that complex, Patrick said.

"There's no buyout needed," she said. "I don't have a sponsor. It's contingent on the sponsor."

"I've always been very fortunate from a sponsor perspective," Patrick admitted. "Even when my last [sponsor negotiation] came around, I didn't have to wait too long, in the summer, to know it was going to happen next.

"I would say mentally, emotionally, my approach has been peaceful and what will be will, and I don't know. I'm a little bit more present and a little less worried about the future or worried about what happened in the past. I'm just kind of letting it organically flow."

Patrick's business team is "looking really hard," she said, and believes SHR is also.

Patrick said she would consider racing for another team. She would not, she said, consider a part-time ride. USA Today

Backmarker Danica Patrick may get put out to pasture
Danica Patrick – "I was ready yesterday"

7/12/07

Danica Patrick is more than ready to tie the knot with her racing BF Ricky Stenhouse Jr. — and how do we know? She said it on TMZ's camera … right in front of him!

The two have been dating for 5 years and when our camera guy asked DP if the rumors of her being engaged were true or just a little joshing around, Ricky answered "Someday, not yet."

Our guy then (foolishly?) stated the two probably still weren't quite ready to tie the knot, and that's when Danica jumped in to set the record straight.

"I was ready yesterday."

What followed was one of the most awkward hugs in LAX history, and most likely a quiet Uber ride home.

Guess he only moves fast on the track, huh? TMZSports.com

06/28/17

Two big names in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series now have questions surrounding their futures in the sport. Stewart-Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas recently told Motorsport.com that his team again will run four cars in 2018, though it isn't clear if Kurt Busch and Danica Patrick will be behind the wheel of two of them.

Although some teams, such as Roush Fenway Racing, have scaled back in recent years, Haas doesn't feel that would make sense for SHR. Due to NASCAR's current business model, teams not only get revenue from the sport, but also from manufacturers and sponsors, so Haas said running fewer cars would be a missed opportunity.

“So, to say, ‘If we don't have a sponsor, does that mean we shouldn't run?' No, that means we'd lose the money from the other sources," Haas told Motorsport.com. “I think it's kind of a business decision. If you can get money from all the sources, you can actually make a little money from this. If one of them drops out, you just might have to wait for a year or so until you line up another one. “It would be foolish to drop a team, because then we would lose money from the manufacturer and NASCAR, which is a substantial amount of money."

Haas' philosophy is something SHR already has been practicing for a while with his company, Haas Automation, sponsoring Clint Bowyer and Busch for a total of 27 races this year. Though the latter ran a paint scheme that shared the sponsorship with Monster Energy in 15 of those. Sponsored Save Now with A La Carte TV Ad by Sling TV Because Busch has long been a Monster-sponsored athlete, and the beverage company now sponsors all of Cup, he likely will be back with the team in 2018. But Haas said negotiations with Busch won't happen for a while because of one of the driver's backers.

“A sponsor, who will remain nameless, typically likes to negotiate in January, so it's a problem," Haas said, via Motorsport.com. " … I know a lot of people have these options, but a lot of people don't like to make a decision until a month after the last possible time you can make a decision."

Patrick's future seems far less certain, though, based on another comment Haas reportedly made. “If we can have a driver that wins races — and with a reasonable sponsor — all the teams can be profitable," Haas said. “And that's what we're here for is to try to make a little money at this."

The 35-year-old Patrick is still chasing her first Cup win, and one of her main sponsors, Nature's Bakery, gave SHR a major headache ahead of this season. [Will Danica get "The Call" soon?] NESN

6/12/07

Danica Patrick
Danica Patrick

The rumor in Pocono is that Stewart Haas Racing will shut down Danica Patrick's #10 NASCAR Monster Cup car due to lack of sponsorship after this year.

Patrick has hinted at starting a family, but nothing confirmed.

06/02/17

Stewart-Haas Racing and Danica Patrick are reviewing their options about whether she will continue on as a driver for the team after this year, according to sources. Patrick is signed with SHR through ’18, but there are clauses in her contract that could see the relationship end after this year, and the sides are discussing their choices, sources said.

Patrick’s nearly decade-long relationship with GoDaddy that spanned back to her time in IndyCar ended after ‘15, and SHR has run into challenges securing primary sponsorship. Nature’s Bakery earlier this year backed away from its three-year, $45M deal after one season.

Should Patrick leave SHR after ‘17, options would include trying to find another ride in NASCAR or retiring from full-time racing. Patrick, who has run more than 160 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races over the course of six seasons, also has launched new business interests in the past year including an athleisure line and wine brand.

Patrick told the AP in April that she would race “as long as it’s fun — and it hasn’t been super fun lately." SHR and Patrick’s manager, Excel Sports Management’s Alan Zucker, declined comment.

Patrick currently is 32nd in the Cup Series points standings heading into this weekend’s action at Dover Int'l Speedway. She has no wins in NASCAR’s top series and has not qualified for the playoffs in her Cup career. Adam Stern/SportsBusinessDaily

04/17/17

With Danica Patrick’s driving days possibly "nearing an end in the not-too-distant future," her fitness project and clothing line are "being fast-tracked into something far bigger," according to Jenna Fryer of the AP.

Patrick had more than 700 participants involved in a trial program where they "sent in 'before' pictures of themselves and were given access to Patrick’s 12-week fitness and 'clean eating' program."
The results, "including 'after' photos, will be part" of a book Patrick is working on. She "developed the workouts and meal plans for the book."
Patrick also launched the clothing line "Warrior by Danica Patrick" on HSN after "participating in the design process."
Patrick, who turned 35 last month, is "building her brand along the journey and using a marketing strategy that has made her one of the most recognized female athletes in the world despite her limited on-track success."
It has been a "popular thought for some time that Patrick eventually would make the transition to a lifestyle career, maybe becoming some version of a Rachael Ray type."
Patrick appears "capable of doing pretty much anything." Fryer: "Is carving out a space in the lucrative health and fitness business where she ultimately wants to be?" Patrick: "Sure. If I’m going to do all this and write a cookbook and a fitness program, I’ll take this as far as I can to motivate people to be successful. The program works. I know it works." AP

04/15/17

Danica's biological clock is ticking - time to make babies?
Danica's biological clock is ticking – time to make babies?

With Patrick's driving days possibly nearing an end in the not-too-distant future, what might have seemed like an off-track hobby is being fast-tracked into something far bigger. She launched the clothing line "Warrior by Danica Patrick" on HSN after participating in the design process. And she developed the workouts and meal plans for the book.

Ask Patrick about how much longer she will race, and her reply doesn't suggest the question is off-target.

"As long as it's fun – and it hasn't been super fun lately," she said before the season started. "But every year I start the year, I always have hope that it's going to be the year that things are going to click. I understand my career hasn't progressed.

"Maybe it's regressed? Why is that? Am I worse driver than I was a couple of years ago? Probably not," she said. "I don't think anybody gets worse. So it's really a matter of all the factors around you."

Patrick turned 35 last month. She has been racing more than half her life, building her brand along the journey and using a marketing strategy that has made her one of the most recognized female athletes in the world despite her limited on-track success. She is ranked 29th through the first seven races of the season.

Once so glamorous off the track, and so competitive and confrontational on it, these days Patrick is more like a love-struck, self-described hippy who preaches serenity and takes time to enjoy everything around her.

So when is that family coming? The proposal from Stenhouse?

"I got that under control," she smiled. Associated Press

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